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Waterfall Country

The Web Brecon Beacons

The southern fringe of the Brecon Beacons National Park consists of a long belt of  outcrop lime stone which has created a highly distinctive environment characterised by a wooded gorges, caves, swallow holes, and waterfalls. This intriguing landform is most distinct in the locality known as Coed Y Rhaeadr which translates as Wood of the water falls but is referred to locally simply as Waterfall Country.

 Sgwd Gwladys      Down River from Sgwd Isaf Clun Gwyn     Sgwd y Pannwr (Fall of the Fuller)

Waterfall Country is situated in a triangle formed by the villages of Hirwaun, Ystradfellte, and Pontneddfechan. Waterfall country includes the head waters of the rivers Nedd, Mellte, Pyrddin and Hepste.  These rivers drain the old red sandstone mountain ranges of the Fanís in the north and travel south through the deep V shaped wooded valleys the rivers have formed in the carboniferous limestone of the  southern belt of the national park. In addition to being part of the national park, waterfall country is officially designated as a site of special scientific interest containing over 200 species of mosses, liverworts, and ferns. Since designation as a national park in 1957 the popularity of waterfall country combined with a steep and difficult terrain which is subject to heavy rainfall has led to widespread footpath erosion. It is advised that you take particular care when visiting this locality because there have been fatal accidents here on many occasions

The river Hepste commands the most famous of waterfall. Sgwd Y Eira, Sgwd Y Eira, the waterfall of snowthe waterfall of snow, has a natural path that passes behind the waterfall offering walkers a most unusual  view of the curtain of water. Further south, a short distance below Sgwd Y Pannwr on the Mellte, the Hepste joins the Mellte . 

The river Nedd has its source high in the Fforest Fawr and as it travels south  to be joined by the Pyrddin it reveals a series of  waterfalls including Sgwd Ddwli. The Afon Pyrddin has two major waterfalls along its length named Sgwd Einion Gam and Sgwd Gwladys. Just below Sgwd Gwladys the Pyrddin joins the Nedd which eventually make it way into the sea at Swansea bay. 

The Afon Llia has its source close to the standing stone Maen Madoc and some miles downstream it joins the river Dringarth to form the Afon Mellte. The first waterfall that we come to on the Afon Mellte is Sgwd Clun Gwyn which translates as white meadow fall. The second waterfall is named Sgwd Isaf Clun Gwyn which translates as the lower white meadow fall.  The third waterfall is named Sgwd y Pannwr (Fall of the Fuller). The river Mellte suddenly disappears underground into Porth Y Ogof the cave of the white horse.Sgwd Isaf Clun Gwyn which translates as the lower white meadow fall

There are particular dangers attached to walking in the waterfall country.  The footpaths take you along and above deep valleys. It is common place to find yourself walking on a narrow slippery footpath with a steep dangerous drop on one side. Avoid walking to the edge of paths or waterfalls. Take especial care when viewing waterfalls as the sheer beauty of the waterfall may be distracting and lead you into danger. The valleys are heavily wooded and the leaves that fall during the autumn have a tendency to linger on the surface of the ground throughout the year.  Consider also that rock may outcrop on sections of the footpaths surfaces which are often wet and therefore especially slippery.  It is no exaggeration to say that one should take particular care when the walking in waterfall country and be mindful of the fact that many accidental deaths have occurred here. Walking boots with good gripping soles are essential.  Having said that waterfall country is one of the most rewarding experiences for the walker that to be found in any National Park in England and Wales.

  • Tay's Shop - Ross filling station and shopper, Ystradfellte Rd, Pontneddfechan, Glynneath. General'  store open 7 days a week with filling station selling unleaded petrol and diesel. Ice cream , cold drinks and provisions. Brecon beacons national Park village information agency. Adjacent to waterfalls and near to Ystradfellte youth hostel located midway between Pontneddfechan and Ystradfellte Tel. 01639-720547
  • The tourist information office for Waterfall Country is located in Pontneddfechan opposite the Angel hotel public house at ordnance survey the ref S.N 902076 
    Tel. 01639 721795. Currently it is open seven days week from April to September and weekends only from October to March. 
  • Porth Y Ogof
  • Aberdulais Falls
  • Ystradfellte
  • Ystradfellte & Pontneddfechan



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Mountain Hut Productions © 2002   All rights reserved. Revised: 10 March 2014This non profit making website is independent
(of the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority) & supports National Park aims regarding recreation, conservation & the local economy. 

Home  Landscape  Safety Attractions Outdoors Walking Weather  Accommodation Events
Places Getting Here Local Products  e n q u i r i e s @ b r e c o n - b e a c o n s . c o m